Forest Laboratories says that it will be continuing the development of its investigational Alzheimer’s disease offering, neramexane, after seeing promising clinical trial results.

The 24-week study included 198 patients suffering from moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease and who were not receiving any other treatments for their dementia. Those receiving neramexane showed statistically significant improvements versus placebo in a daily function measurement. There was not a significant difference in terms of cognition between both the treatment groups after 24 weeks, but Forest notes that data from week 12 showed a significant difference in favor of neramexane, with a strong trend in favor of neramexane at week 18 as well. The side effect profile of neramexane in this study was comparable to placebo.

Neramexane belongs to the same class of drugs as the firm’s Namenda (memantine) Alzheimer’s disease treatment – known as NMDA receptor antagonists, which work in a different way to currently available therapies that are designed to boost levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. NMDA receptor antagonists have been shown to correct abnormal transmissions of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which are believed to play a role in Alzheimer’s.

Neramexane is being developed under an alliance with Merz Pharmaceuticals of Germany [[04/07/01f]]. In September Forest said that neramexane failed to show any benefit when added to one of three already-marketed acetylcholinesterase inhibitor compounds in moderate to severe Alzheimer’s [[01/09/04d]].